How long did it take you to get published?
This question is not as straight-forward as it seems. There were several stages to get through. The first, finding an agent, was mercifully quick. I signed with Irene less than two months after I sent out my first query letter. From there it took about six months until we found an editor who was interested. From that point to signing the contract was actually a pretty long process– more than a year. This was mainly because I had originally intended the book for adults, and revising it for a young adult audience took a while. After I signed the contract it was another year and a half of further revisions. So– almost four years from the time I put the final period on my first draft to publication date.
Are you planning any more books in the Dora series?
Yes! I am currently at work on a sequel and will update my website when there is more news about that!
How did you get your idea for Secret Letters?
As a teenager I loved the Sherlock Holmes stories. I was fascinated with the brilliant, mysterious, and temperamental detective and wished that Doyle has written more about him. After months reading piles of fan-fiction by well-known authors (who seemed just as obsessed as I was), I decided I wanted to add something different to the mix. Others had written love interests for the detective, and these young women ranged from silly to impossibly brilliant. As interesting as these novels were, I didn’t want to write yet another romance for the detective. I wondered instead what Sherlock’s daughter would have been like; a girl with his talents, but with the added complication of being female, a girl born into a society which discouraged independence and ambition in well-bred young ladies.
In the first chapter of Secret Letters, Dora discovers that Sherlock Holmes, the man she has dreamed of meeting, is dead. Did you change Doyle’s stories? When did Sherlock Holmes really die?
I didn’t change the stories at all. At the end of The Final Problem, Sherlock Holmes meets his nemesis, Professor Moriarty, at a waterfall in Switzerland. The two men fight and Sherlock and his enemy plunge to their death together. Dr. Watson finds the evidence of their last struggle and goes on to tell the world about his friend’s sad end. Dora comes to London just as the first reports of Sherlock’s supposed death are published in the papers. Is Sherlock Holmes really dead? The answer to that is in Doyle’s story, The Empty House.
Have you written any other books besides Secret Letters?
Yes, I recently finished my second novel. It is called Golden Boy and I just sent it off to my agent. No publisher yet– but I will keep updating about this! The book is about a teenage girl whose first love descends into madness. You can find a summary here
Do you have any book recommendations for me?
My favorite book would have to be The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak.
Young adult books I have enjoyed recently: Lisa McMann’s Dead to You, RJ Anderson’s Ultraviolet, Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, and Nick Hornby’s Slam.
What advice would you give writers who are starting out?
Be open to criticism, especially if you hear the same critique more than once. Read a lot. Expect rejection. Every single author has been rejected; it’s part of the career! There is also lots and lots of waiting. Waiting to hear from agents, publishers, etc…So find other things to do in the meantime.